In celebration of the middle of the week we have a guest writer here at The Alder Fork. Iwona Szkudlarek who previously took us on a tour of the GTA returns with a review of Dee Planche’s latest album, Flesh and Bones. Your can hear Planche here. Enjoy Iwona’s review:
Hailing from Mississauga, Dee Planche recently released Flesh and Bone (2009), named after the title track. I came across her at several local shows in Toronto and picked up Flesh and Bones at her performance at the Cameron House. From what I could tell from the shows, she has a beautiful, pure voice, with a smooth rock edge. This led me to anticipate good things before I even had a listen to the album.
What impressed me right off the bat, looking at the credits, is that she co-penned all of the tunes. I always appreciate when an artist puts all of themselves into a piece of work. I also really enjoy the artwork doodles in the book, it set a moody tone that is reflected in the music. The album contains 9 tracks and was produced and mixed by Brent Bodrug, who also added his writing chops as the co-writer to many of the songs.
The first track, Flesh and Bone, is up tempo. The harder tone of the song and the electronic elements add a haunting element to Dee’s voice. She has a good range and shows it off well in this song. It is one of the more distinct songs, because of the electronic aspects.
Her voice continues strongly on Hard to Swallow. The song has very strong pop melodies and I think it was definitely a good choice as the first single. I find that the piano in the background adds depth to the melody. This, coupled with the lyrics that so accurately and painfully depict heartache, explains why this is one of my favourite songs on the album.
The choice to alternate the pop ballads and the harder rock tunes seems to have been conscious and it is very effective in keeping the listener’s attention. The ballads are heartfelt and tend to reflect lost love in their lyrics. Chase the Sun is a drop in tempo, after the first two edgier songs. Both Chase the Sun and Not Here, third and fourth tracks respectively, are smooth pop songs and Dee’s voice flows over the gentle melodies. The last tune, Twilight, possesses a simplicity of the instrumentation adds a poignant quality to the song.
The edgier songs on the album balance out the mellow ballads. Serotonin, the fourth track on the album, brings us back into the rock frame of mind. You can hear the soul in her voice in this song; it has raw emotion in the lyrics and her voice. Weak Spot and Sleep Talking, as the sixth and seventh tracks on the album continue the trend of strong, soulful rock. I feel like Dee is very good at bringing out a deeper, rougher side when the song requires it while not losing the smooth, lilting aspects of her voice. The second last track, Sunburn, uses the keyboard to bring out the melody. Though not one of my favourite songs, you can feel the power of her delivery, punctuated by the instrumentation.
I find that the all songs feel very graceful and effortless, whether they be ballads or more rock driven songs. You can tell Dee has vocal training because her voice hits every note with the precision of an expert. Overall, it is a very good album. It moves effortlessly, though it does not distinguish itself greatly from the other albums in this genre.
I think the best indication that Dee Planche and her crew have crafted an effective and catchy pop rock album is that by the end of this review, I was singing along to the tunes. The album a respectable effort; I have a good impression of Dee and look forward to hearing her in the future.